The New York Jets have had their fair share of gut-wrenching opening day losses. Was this the worst Game One loss in Jets history?
The New York Jets came into the 2019 season with a clean slate. There was a new coach, new GM, new uniform, and a professed new attitude.
The Jets face an unforgiving slate to open their schedule. So Sunday’s opener against a division foe was crucial, on a number of levels. Hopefully, the 17-16 loss in Week 1 doesn’t torpedo the season.
After the Jets’ defense created four turnovers, yet only led at halftime 6-0, you knew this game was in trouble.
Then they blew a 16-0 third-quarter lead, yet still got the ball back with a chance to win — but stalled on a sloppy two-minute drive. The game arc felt straight outta the Todd Bowles playbook.
On offense, Le’Veon Bell was electric, but most of his yardage came on his own. Redskins free agent Jamison Crowder is a stud — a franchise record-tying 14 receptions in his first Jets game.
On defense, CJ Mosley was the best player on the field and has already become the heart and soul of the defense. But he left the game with a tricky groin injury — so he’ll be less than 100% Monday Night against the Browns. The activity by ILB Avery Williamson stand-in Neville Hewitt was another bright spot.
Trumaine Johnson — arguably the most egregious of all ex-GM Mike Maccagnan’s free agent signings — got abused again by the Bills. Ready for the $72 Million cornerback Week Three mano-a-mano versus Antonio Brown. Jets fans?
Marcus Maye whiffed on an easy pick-six that instead resulted in the Bills field goal to make the game 16-3 — which portended the beginning of the end. Quinnen Williams’ rookie season will surely suffer from his third-quarter ankle re-aggravation. FWIW, Gregg Williams was vocal in support of taking Ed Oliver with the third overall pick, and Oliver crushed for Buffalo all afternoon.
Over the following pages, you’ll find a succinct game overview and future plan of attack, as told through the voices of the locker room.
Next: 4. Locker Room Fallout
Locker Room Fallout
LEONARD WILLIAMS: It is demoralizing when you can play that well and still lose a game. It was just a bad start to the season when we had this game in the bag. We were close to closing this out and have a great start, and we let it slip through our fingers.
TRUMAINE JOHNSON: C.J. Mosley is a tremendous player. We’ve seen it — hands-on-the-ball, pick-six, the leader of our team on defense. When he went down… we always preach next man up.
C.J. MOSLEY: It was really frustrating. You wanna be out there with your brothers but you couldn’t, especially the way it ended.
JAMAL ADAMS: I felt like our energy died. We weren’t playing team ball. So anytime you do that, a team is going to take advantage of it.
BRIAN POOLE: It doesn’t matter that the defense played good in the first half. It doesn’t matter about the four turnovers. We didn’t win the game.
LE’VEON BELL: Offensively, we just we never got it going, other than a drive or two. The defense did a good enough job, the special teams need to get better — the coaching; everything. It was a total team effort. We just gotta get it done.
SAM DARNOLD: Whenever you have the lead going into the fourth quarter, that’s never the result you want. When our defense dominates most of the game and we don’t have any answers on offense, we need to win the ballgame. There’s no excuse not to win.
LE’VEON BELL: When you take a loss like this, it kind of defines you. We’re going to see how guys respond. When you have that many turnovers and we still don’t win the game, we didn’t deserve to win that game.
Next: 3. Ring My Bell
Ring My Bell
LE’VEON BELL: It felt good to be back out there. Obviously, I had a lot of fun, getting back to the game. And obviously, it wasn’t the outcome that I’d hoped for. But I felt good. I think I could still find ways to get better at my game. We can come out stronger.
SAM DARNOLD: The way Le’Veon was running out there — the way he was catching the ball, too, running routes — it hadn’t looked like he’d missed any time.
KELECHI OSEMELE: He was awesome. He was hitting a lot of good runs off the backside of some of our combo-type zones, and that felt really good. He had a lot of really great plays today.
LE’VEON BELL: All the stats are good, but I’m just trying to get a W. I’m sure there are some people are happy for me. But at the end of the day, I’m just trying to win the game.
SAM DARNOLD: When our defense plays like that, you’ve got to win the ballgame. When they force four turnovers and we’re not turning it over on offense, we need to come away with points.
Next: 2. Kick in the Eye
Kick in the Eye
Kaare Vedvik makes for a compelling story. The hulking strong-legged, self-confident Norwegian kicker via Marshall went undrafted and got signed by the Ravens.
Before last season, he got brutally assaulted in East Baltimore, sent to shock trauma with serious head injuries including getting his teeth knocked out. This year, he prepared for training camp with the Ravens. Then two months ago the Vikings traded a fifth-rounder for him. But Vedvik stiffed in the preseason, hitting just 1-of-4 FGs
In fairness to Vedvik, his limp 45-yard FG try was the result of a bad snap, with a new holder, in a stadium he had never kicked in before (his one attempt to kick at MetLife thwarted Saturday by a soccer “friendly” between the US and Mexico). But NFL kickers must be automatic when it comes to PATs. This guy’s ceiling may be XFL grade.
Everyone in the business knows that Kaare flashes NFL talent. He blasted his two kickoffs through the end zone. But the Jets lost 17-16 season, and Vedvik’s whiffs took four points off the board. On his FG attempt, the man, clutching his Gatorade bottle, just looked scared. He was like the entertainer that goes onstage and chokes.
The previous Jets regime was playing with fire by not retaining 2018 All-Pro kicker Jason Myers and bringing back Chandler Catazaro (who was so bad, he quit during camp). At press time, the Jets will hold kicker tryouts in Florham Park. Are you ready for the Cody Parkey era, Jets fans?
KAARE VEDVIK: It sucks. Everybody wants to do their part in helping the team win. A close game like that, it’s bad.
ADAM GASE: We’ve got to make extra points. We’ve got to make field goals. We can’t be losing all our points in those areas of the field. We just got to get better. That will be one of those things we’ll talk about tomorrow.
Next: 1. Turn the Page
Turn the Page
ADAM GASE: It’s not like it’s fun to go through a game like this. You lose by one point and have opportunities and leave points on the board, it’s more than an issue of anger, it’s deflating. But we can’t let one game define our season… But losing by one point — you’re right there, and we had a chance to win this game. And that’s what every NFL game will come down to: in the last drive — are we gonna go down and win it or we gotta stop somebody? We didn’t do either one today.
JORDAN JENKINS: Yeah, it stings. Of course, it stings. But I’m not gonna let that f****** get me down. We know who we are. We’re not going to be demoralized by this game… People are gonna talk. But if you don’t write our checks, you don’t coach us, you’re not involved with the program, we don’t care. We know we have what it takes. We know what we have to do to get better.
C.J. MOSLEY: It’s always tough to take a loss like that, especially to a division opponent. So it’s a learning experience for this team. I know people are gonna say, “Oh, it’s just like last year…” But we control what we control, and go back to work tomorrow.
JAMAL ADAMS: We’re okay, man. It’s not the end of the world. It’s just one loss. We’ll be alright.